August 10th, 2010
10:38 AM ET

‘Ex-gay’ ministry on gay marriage's chances after Prop 8 ruling

Alan Chambers’ opposition to Prop 8 isn’t political. It’s personal.

Chambers is the president of Exodus International, a nonprofit “ex-gay” ministry that promises freedom from homosexuality. He is also “ex-gay”– a married father of two children who says he’s abandoned homosexuality.

Chambers sighed when asked his reaction to last week’s controversial court decision. A judge ruled that California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8, violated the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.

“It’s disappointing that a judge would rule against the will of the people,” says Chambers, author of "Leaving Homosexuality." “That’s the greatest tragedy.”

For 34 years, Exodus has told gay and lesbians that they can be “delivered” from homosexuality through faith in Christ, professional counseling and support groups.

But how will groups like Exodus fare if fewer Americans believe that homosexuality is a sin, and if gay marriage becomes an option?

Chambers acknowledged that “our culture is changing” and said more people are abandoning a biblical view of homosexuality.

Does he think gay marriage is inevitable?

“It certainly seems so,” Chambers says. “The jury is still out and there are certainly areas where I see a tendency for more rights for gay and lesbian people. But I also see that there’s still a fight among American people so it’s hard to know.”

Though there seems to be more acceptance of gay and lesbian people in popular culture, Chambers says demand for Exodus ministry has not declined.

“Our calls are increasing,” he says. “Our ministries say we’re busier than ever.”

He says the Prop 8 ruling shows something else: More Americans are accepting the humanity of gay and lesbian people.

“We’re entering a time when we are more compassionate and loving toward people who deserve our compassion,” he says, “and that’s gay and lesbian people.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: California • Christianity • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Politics • United States

soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. Oonai

    Wow Jerry, you need to get out of the house more. Put your old book down and go get some fresh air! I accept that Christ is real for you, but I choose not to follow him. I follow a religion that pre-dates Christianity and I am STRONGLY opposed to anyone that wishes to push their religion onto anyone else. I am quite secure in my faith and knowledge of what happens when one dies – I have no fear of 'going to hell' just because I don't accept what you are tying to push onto the rest of the world. That is just disrespectful.

    "I like your Christ, but not your Christians" – Ghandi

    August 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  2. Gay Christian

    Why did CNN interview Alan Chambers, President of Exodus, an "ex-gay" ministry on Prop 8 ruling? CNN is giving free advertising to an organization that is not supported by the American Psychiatric Association or the American Pscychological Association. CNN is doing nothing to get the facts straight on the Prop 8 ruling or even providing the truth behind the ex-gay movement.

    August 24, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  3. Rose

    CNN, please do NOT give any attention to reparative therapy. The American Psychological Association has already denounced such horrible and abusive practices. Sexual orientation canNOT be changed by therapy and such attempts do far more harm than good. Exodus Internation itself is a very questionable organization as well, as at least one of its board members has donated directly to the Uganda anti-gay bill. Furthermore, it makes no sense to ask an "ex-gay" his opinions about gay marriage. If he was really straight, it wouldn't apply to him! PLEASE, CNN, stop this biased reporting!

    August 24, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  4. Hehe

    "Ex-gays" make me laugh.

    August 16, 2010 at 12:48 am |
  5. Joshua

    Yes, the ex-gay movement is harmful to gays and their straight spouses and families. Forcing people to live a lie is never a good idea. Let the gay be gay, they are consenting adults.

    August 15, 2010 at 12:11 am |
  6. Joshua

    I have known gays and lesbians harmed by the ex-gay thing. Some live "straight lives" but secretly have gay relations and continue to seek other gays. This only makes them feel even more ashamed. First the ex-gay movement makes them feel really bad about themselves, telling them to change who they are, then they can't change and have to pretend and internalize homophobia. I have seen one commit suicide, others live straight but hating themselves, this is not the way to be "compassionate" to our gay Americans. Let them be gay, they hurt nobody, they are all a bunch of adults, consenting adults, what is the harm? We are harming them by denying them who they are. This is harmful, why do we want to harm our own American people?

    August 14, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.